Demonstrating its expertise in R&D and manufacturing of advanced materials, STAC, a Chennai based MSME, won the contract to make the structural parts of UAE’s first lunar Mission
When Rashid Rover “the first-ever rover of United Arab Emirates” put its legs on the surface of the moon in a matter of hours after emerging from the chest of Hakuto-R, the Japan-made lander. Onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that took off from Florida, USA on December 11, it will mark the fruitful completion of a two-year long arduous efforts of (STAC), a Chennai MSME of innovative composite parts that was entrusted with the task of the manufacturing and supply of the rover’s structural parts.
ST Advanced Composites Makes Overall Structure of UAE’s First Lunar Mission – Rashid Rover
The rover’s Chennai connection should also lift the spirit of India’s Make in India movement in the defence and aerospace industry, and the hopes of the country becoming a global manufacturing hub for aerospace products in near future.
Weighing a little less than 10 kg, Rashid Rover is the Arab world’s first lunar rover, conceived by Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, UAE’s national space agency. Considering that the weight, strength, and reliability of materials that go into making the rover’s structure is crucial for the success of its lunar mission, the space agency scouted across the world to identify a company that has the necessary expertise, before signing the contract with STAC. Now that the rover is about to complete its 385,000 km journey to start crawling on the moon’s surface for months to identify the presence of water and the planet’s test soil conditions, STAC has a strong case to prove its mettle in making innovative composite parts.
Talking about the company’s expertise and the Rashid Rover project, Dr. Devendran Thirunavukarasu, Director, STAC, explained, “We make parts in advanced composite materials such as metallic and carbon fibre mainly for defence and aeronautical industries. We have done projects for ISRO and DRDO, besides a few global space tech companies, including one in the UK. However, making Rashid’s structure proved to be a demanding project. Our research and design focus helped us win the confidence of UAE and provide end to end solutions for them to their extreme satisfaction. In space missions, we are talking about materials that are at least 10 times lighter and 5 times stronger than steel. We built the rover’s structures using magnesium alloy, carbon fibre, and aluminium. We are happy that the customer is extremely happy with our work. We hope to keep building on our strength and contribute towards indigenization of the local defence and space industry, while also tapping export opportunities.”
STAC is a full-service of the composites manufacturer providing engineered composite products for various industries. Founded in 2014, the company has energetic and young team comprising specialists in offering design assistance, material selection consultation and manufacturing advanced composite materials using natural, glass, carbon, and Kevlar fibres. It has emerged as a comprehensive one-stop composites shop with an on-site manufacturing facility that meets design requirements from start to finish, meeting production schedules.
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